NIH Public Access Policy and You: Submit When Publishing

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Source Information

Most of the information on this page was taken from the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy webpage: http://publicaccess.nih.gov/submit_process.htm

Video Overview

This is a 7.5 minute video that provides an overview to the policy and submission methods. Thank you to the NYU Health Sciences Library for creating and sharing the video. 

Address the Copyright Agreement

Address The Copyright Agreement

When you are negotiating the terms of your publication or copyright agreement, make sure that the agreement includes a stipulation allowing the full text of the paper to be posted to PubMed Central. 

Note: manuscripts must be made available on PubMed Central no later than 12 months after the official publication date.

As an example, the kind of language that an author or institution might add to a copyright agreement includes the following:

“Journal acknowledges that Author retains the right to provide a copy of the final peer-reviewed manuscript to the NIH upon acceptance for Journal publication, for public archiving in PubMed Central as soon as possible but no later than 12 months after publication by Journal.”

To avoid miscommunication, awardees may wish to let publishers know a manuscript is subject to the policy before the publisher decides to review it.

Submission Method Identification Wizard

To identify the submission and reporting method for a specific journal, use NIH's new submission method identification wizard.  

Submission Method A

Submission Method A:
Automatic Submission

Some journals automatically deposit all NIH-funded final published articles in PubMed Central, to be made publicly available within 12 months of publication, without author involvement.  To find out if the journal in which you are publishing participates in Method A, consult this list: Submission Method A Journals.

Note: It is still the responsibility of the author to notify the journal that the article is NIH funded (so they know to submit it to PMC) and to ensure and verify compliance with the policy.

Submission Method B

Submission Method B:
Publisher Submits Single Article

Make arrangements to have the publisher deposit a specific final published article in PubMed Central.

Some publishers will deposit an individual final published article in PubMed Central upon author request, and generally for a fee.  See the list of Method B publishers.

Note: It is still the responsibility of the author to ensure and verify compliance with the policy.

Submission Method C

Submission Method C:
Deposit The Manuscript into
PubMed Via NIHMS Yourself

Submitting a final peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central (PMC) via the NIHMS involves three tasks, as explained below.  Task 1 may be done by an author or by someone in the author’s organization (e.g., a research administrator or assistant).  Tasks 2 and 3 must by done by the author.

A Note on Timing: NIH awardees are responsible for ensuring that manuscripts are submitted to the NIHMS upon acceptance for publication and that all NIHMS tasks are complete within three months of publication.

For more infomation on using the NIH Manuscript Submission (NIHMS) system, see the 'NIHMS System' page in this guide.

Task 1: Deposit Manuscript Files and Link to NIH Funding 

Upload a copy of the accepted final peer-reviewed manuscript and associated files (e.g., Microsoft Word document and figures) via the NIHMS.  At the same time, identify the NIH funding associated with the manuscript.  It usually takes less than 10 minutes to complete this task.

Task 2: Authorize NIH to Process the Manuscript

The author designates the number of months after publication when the manuscript may be made publicly available in PMC (also known as the embargo period).  The author then confirms, via the NIHMS, a statement that the deposit of the manuscript is consistent with any publication and copyright agreements, and that NIH may begin processing the manuscript for use in PMC.

Task 3: Approve the PMC-formatted Manuscript for Public Display

The NIHMS will convert the deposited files into a standard PMC format, and email the author to approve the PMC-formatted manuscript for public display. The author then reviews and approves the PMC-formatted manuscript via the NIHMS. Corrections to the manuscript, if necessary, may be requested at this time.  

Following completion of Task 3:

  • The NIHMS will email the author and all PIs the citation with the PMCID once it is assigned;
  • PMC will automatically make the paper publicly available after the designated delay period has expired.

For a video of this process, see one or both of these:

Submission Method D

Submission Method D: Publisher Submits Manuscript to NIHMS, Author Completes Submission Process

In a variation of Method C, some publishers deposit the manuscript files in the NIHMS, provide contact information for a corresponding author, and designate the number of months after publication when the paper may be made publicly available in PMC. See the list of Method D publishers.

A Note on Timing:  Though a publisher may make the initial deposit of files under Method D, NIH awardees are responsible for ensuring that manuscripts are submitted to the NIHMS upon acceptance for publication and that all NIHMS tasks are complete within three months of publication.

The NIHMS will notify the author when the manuscript files are received from the publisher.  At that point, the author must complete tasks 2 and 3 as outlined above in Method C.

Following completion of Task 3:

  • The NIHMS will email the author and all PIs the citation with the PMCID once it is assigned;
  • PMC will automatically make the paper publicly available after the designated delay period has expired.

For a video demonstrating author tasks on the NIHMS for Method D, see Approving Submission of an Article to PubMed Central (WMV Video - 6:26).

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